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Author: [Horse Racing] Topic: ARKANSAS DERBY---post em' here
mikeyp1 send a private message View Space | Blog | Friends | Playbook |
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Posted: 4/13/2012 8:20:58 PM

The Arkansas Derby has emerged as the favorite prep among many followers of the Derby trail and why not? Since Smarty Jones won in 2004 using the race as his stepping stone to immortality and with a slot-fueled purse of one million bucks, there’s a lot for fans to notice at Hot Springs.

 

The winner in this 2011 Arkansas Derby field could emerge as a top contender, if not the winner of the big race on May 5. Even though talent, like Bodemeister, Secret Circle, Isn’t He Clever and Optimizer head the field, the second flight is pretty darned good too; Sabercat, Stat,  Najjaar among them.

 

I see no clear cut winner. With the competition in this race, he who enters the winner’s circle should be given great consideration going forward.

 

NOTE this quote from Mike Watchmaker that appeared in an article in the Daily Racing Form this past week:

 

“There are only two truly major Kentucky Derby preps left, they being Saturday’s Blue Grass at Keeneland and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. And if one of these races is won by a horse who runs fast enough to earn a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure, it would mark only the third time this year such a winning Beyer was assigned to a next-to-last round, or final round Derby prep.”

 

Those two prep race 100 Beyers’ include: Bodemeister at 101 in the San Felipe (Creative Cause ran a 102); Daddy Nose Best had a 100 in the Sunland Derby (Isn’t He Clever ran a 99 finishing second);  

 

#11 Bodemeister…..Here I go touting the chalk again. Bodemeister is a very impressive animal and might be Baffert’s most versatile stakester. Mr. B has had great success in Arkansas the past few years and Saturday might be another huge day. Mike Smith rides and he recently won his 5000th career race!  (PS: Bejarano moves to Secret Circle). The son of Empire Maker has raced just three times in his career (3/1-2-0 all of them at Santa Anita) and NEVER as a two-year old, which is a real red flag if he’s your early Derby pick. Not that I am still trying to figure out how he lost the San Felipe to Creative Cause, who got beat last weekend in the Santa Anita Derby to I’ll Have Another, I think Bodemeister just ran out of gas. He was run down by ¾ lengths by the horse that many will argue will be the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Creative Cause. Bode’s San Felipe performance made me question if he could get the distance. After viewing the race again, I think he can and will. Check the fractions of the San Felipe. It was a quickie. The post doesn’t scare me as my guess is that he’ll be out in short order. After watching Smith’s tactical efforts so many times, I think he can get this guy revved up after a tuck and stalk for the final surge. The 9-5 morning fave.

 

#6 Isn’t He Clever…..This is the guy who came up a point short of running a 100 Beyer in the Sunland Derby (G-III) when he finished second to Daddy Nose Best, who is one of my Derby Day dark horses at the moment. He’s done it all right so far for clever trainer Henry Dominguez with a record of 7/4-2-0 lifetime. The switch to Robbie Alvarado is a real plus. The Sunland is Clever’s only graded stakes and he lost by just ¾ to the charging Daddy Nose Best. This could be the horse on this track on this day. One more thing…..his daddy is Smarty Jones.

 

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Posted: 4/13/2012 8:22:02 PM

#5 Secret Circle…..His Southwest (G-III, division 1) and Rebel (G-II) were very impressive and he has been stellar throughout. Lifetime he is 6/5-1-0, including 2 for 2 at Oak Lawn. Secret Circle’s lowest career Beyer is 92 in the Rebel with a high of 102 in the Southwest. This could set up to be an early speedball with Bodemeister and Isn’t He Clever with the stamina of the three holding service unless someone can rip up from the clouds to win. And if that happens, the winner could be…..

 

#3 Najjaar….He is the only real cloud closer in this race in my opinion as he proved in the Rebel (G-II) when he came from 20 back, darn near half-way into the race, to finish just 4-3/4 back finishing 6th to Secret Circle. His race prior to the Rebel, Najjaar won coming from ninth place twelve lengths behind. A positive for the son of 2006 Belmont winner Jazil is Calvin Borel in the saddle. He rides this track with the best of them.

 

#2 Stat….With the connections of Unbridled’s Song, Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez, you’d think you have a real contender in the mix….and you do. While Stat is a step slower than most of these, he popped a big one last out in an O/C $75K hitting an 88 speed figure in the process. He’s 4/2-1-0 and I can see why Todd would put him in this spot off that performance. He looks to need to be near the lead and that might be tough to do with this bunch, but he can also come off the pace as he showed in his maiden and during his effort two back. I think he can grab a decet piece with the right trip.

 

#7 Optimizer…..Well, if you like Secret Circle, you might like this guy to duke it out. Lukas’ Optimizer lost by just ¾ to Secret Circle in the Rebel coming 6 wide to close like a champ. He’s a bit streaky (see his better performances against Gemologist and Dullahan; and his duds against Hansen, Union Rags, El Padrino and Mark Valeski), then try to figure which Optimizer shows up today. I think a faster pace suits his style and this one should be fast paced. He could be around at the end if it sets up right for him.

 

#1 Cozzene…..He is a bit of a head scratcher winning just one career race, but Cozzene is a nice horse. Besides, Dale Romans trains and I rarely question his decisions.  With a solid third place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G-ll), he earned his best speed figure in that race. Cozzene’s had steady work coming in and might figure for a token.

 

#9 Sabercat…..I wanted to put a fork in my left ear after his race in the Rebel as I liked his chances going into it. Instead, he finished 8th never really getting going. Sabercat won three in a row headed into that race, so maybe he just didn’t fit the company. If he was the odd ball in the Rebel, he is a total outcast today. He has a win in the Grade III Delta Jackpot, but few coming out of that have had significant success on the Derby trail.

 

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Posted: 4/13/2012 8:22:36 PM

My picks (this might be the toughest Derby prep race yet to cap):

 

#5 Secret Circle to win and place… If he wins, or if he loses, it’s by a Bob….a Bob Baffert that is.

 

$25 Ex straight: 5-11

 

$14 Ex straight: 11-5

 

$8 Ex wheel: 5,11/2,3,6

 

$2 Tri wheel: 5,11/2,3,5,6,11/1,2,3,5,6,7,9,11

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Posted: 4/13/2012 8:59:18 PM
Secret Circle really does go off at 5-2, that's a heck of a price for a colt with such credentials. Four for 5 with a close second to a horse that at the time was a top Derby contender (Out of Bounds--injury took him off the trail). Did someone say that Secret Circle was entered to set the pace for his stablemate? Huh?!?! If there were such a plan, it would be the reverse.

Optimizer ran the race of his career last out, and he will be overbet due to his big rally at the slightly shorter distance. SC is the class of this field. The only question is whether three straight all-out efforts this year will knock him off form.
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Posted: 4/13/2012 9:11:56 PM
QUOTE

Originally Posted by handikapper1:

Secret Circle really does go off at 5-2, that's a heck of a price for a colt with such credentials. Four for 5 with a close second to a horse that at the time was a top Derby contender (Out of Bounds--injury took him off the trail). Did someone say that Secret Circle was entered to set the pace for his stablemate? Huh?!?! If there were such a plan, it would be the reverse.

Optimizer ran the race of his career last out, and he will be overbet due to his big rally at the slightly shorter distance. SC is the class of this field. The only question is whether three straight all-out efforts this year will knock him off form.

 

Good observation....5-2 would be the gift of the month.No way Secret Circle rabbits for anyone! Absurd.He is a legit horse who could, I think, run to the speed.

 Optimizer is a bit of a puzzler, but I agree that he will be overbet, especially with the D. Wayne fan club.

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#6
Posted: 4/13/2012 9:49:09 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by mikeyp1:

 

Good observation....5-2 would be the gift of the month.No way Secret Circle rabbits for anyone! Absurd.He is a legit horse who could, I think, run to the speed.

 Optimizer is a bit of a puzzler, but I agree that he will be overbet, especially with the D. Wayne fan club.

This whole thing about SC not being able to get the distance is crazy.  Though his race profile appears to shout "sprinter," his breeding speaks to something different.

If he's competitive tomorrow he deserves a spot in the gate 5/5.

Other than "Isn't he Clever" who got an awful ride last out, I couldn't see playing anyone else in here.

HB

 

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Posted: 4/13/2012 11:22:25 PM
I think Secret Circle is a very nice animal I just don't like the way he finished up from the 6 furlong pole in his last. 33 seconds. Bode finished up in 30 secs in his last.
- Isnt he clever looks good but not sure how he will bounce back with only 3 weeks off. He seems to have a control problem. Moves tooo early.

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Posted: 4/13/2012 11:44:53 PM
With that being said my pick is on Bodemeister. The Blue Grass is the race that has a ton of betting appeal. Big prices there. Especially when Hansen doesn't hit the board
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#9
Posted: 4/14/2012 5:26:01 AM
 Win     Najjaar
 
Place   Isn't he clever

Gl everyone
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Posted: 4/14/2012 9:46:04 AM

Well we Cajuns are always accused of being hard-headed.  And since I didn't make any speeches at graduation, I'm going for the upset with #9 Sabercat over the Baffert duo.

Good luck to everyone in all endeavors.

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#11
Posted: 4/14/2012 11:34:36 AM

Isn't he Clever made a huge move in the middle of his last race (albeit extremely premature).  The rider change should be an enormous lift for this guy.

I like an exacta box of IHC over Secret Circle.

I would go bombs away for third.  Maybe Jake Mo or Cozzetti at double digits.

HB

 

 

 

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#12
Posted: 4/14/2012 12:07:44 PM

Optimizer may have shot his wad in his last effort...but if you look who he has been up against;

Secret Circle

El Padrino

Gemolgist

Hansen

Dullahan 

maybe its his turn today, gonna try again with him...

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Posted: 4/14/2012 1:31:30 PM

no scratches according to the Oak Lawn website

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Posted: 4/14/2012 3:29:30 PM

                  lets try this at oaklawn...  boxing  #1cozzetti who might improve coming from tampa and going longer,#2   stat, hey its pletcher and johnny v and he should be forwardly placed. #3  najjaar ,not my fav jock despite his success but he should save some ground and im sure they either got him cranked today and if it doesnt work you will see him in the belmont.  #5 secret circle, bejarano lands here and hes been bafferts guy. they keep saying  he cant get the longer distances , but i dont think you have seen his best yet and thats scary. so 1-2-3-5 in exacta and tri boxes. 

            #9 sabercat , hats off for ashmussen getting him earnings very early in delta race and im sure hes better than his last. we will see if hes good enough today. #11  bodemeister  wow, new jock, poor post and baffert running him with one of his stars  #5, he needs earnings for sure but its no lock he gets them.

                 saver tickets   9-11 /1-2-3  in exactas  and 1-2-3 /9-11

                             

 

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Posted: 4/14/2012 3:46:56 PM
Good luck PP
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Posted: 4/14/2012 3:52:58 PM

Once again, I'll opt for the entrants with a 90 min. speed figure.

Jake Mo, Secret Circle, Isn't He Clever, Optimizer and Bodemeister are the ones.

Bode at 9-5 with only a maiden win is a total pass.

Secret Circle at 5-2 is best bet IMO to cash but I want value.

Isn't He Clever is 6-1 and offers value but to many changes going on here for me to bet to win. Using in exotics

Optimizer at 6-1 seems like a plodder to me and the 1 win outta 8 seems like wishful thinking.

Jake Mo is 30-1 and may be worth a few sheckles across the board?  Could surprise or run totally up the track.

Secret Circle should win but I can't take 5-2 on these youngsters.

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Posted: 4/14/2012 3:57:09 PM
               good luck  mikey  getting ready for oaklawns 7th thru 11th.  and the meadowlands.   cant wait for arlington mikey.
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Posted: 4/14/2012 4:00:55 PM
QUOTE

Originally Posted by pittsburghphil:

               good luck  mikey  getting ready for oaklawns 7th thru 11th.  and the meadowlands.   cant wait for arlington mikey.

 

You coming in for the meet at some point this summer?

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Posted: 4/14/2012 6:43:57 PM
5,11 with 5,11,7,9,6

secret circle,bodemiester.....With ....  sc,bode,optimizer,sabercat,isn't he clever
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Posted: 4/14/2012 6:44:12 PM
$10 Trifecta (5,6,11/5,6,11/3,5,6,7,9,11) $240

Isn't He Clever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted: 4/14/2012 8:55:01 PM

Finishes 11-5-9......

BODEMEISTER was absolutely outstanding today. What a great performance..

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Posted: 4/14/2012 9:44:40 PM
Anyone else notice that Bode ran a full second faster then the grade 2 oaklawn handicap breaking from post 11? That handicap featured the winner of the Santa anita handicap, Donn handicap, Nehro, Yawanna Twist, and a few other decent horses. Bode is no joke
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Posted: 4/14/2012 11:37:13 PM
QUOTE

Originally Posted by fatroll07:

Anyone else notice that Bode ran a full second faster then the grade 2 oaklawn handicap breaking from post 11? That handicap featured the winner of the Santa anita handicap, Donn handicap, Nehro, Yawanna Twist, and a few other decent horses. Bode is no joke

 

Worth noting if he gets an outside post in the Kentucky Derby.....and if he gets a better post, look out!

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Posted: 4/15/2012 12:43:03 AM
QUOTE Originally Posted by pittsburghphil:

               good luck  mikey  getting ready for oaklawns 7th thru 11th.  and the meadowlands.   cant wait for arlington mikey.


Arlington... the best turf racing in the US!

John Dooley
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